RC Cape May again permits repowering of BL England plant in New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is taking comment until May 8 on a draft renewal of the Title V air permit for the BL England Generating Station of RC Cape May Holdings that includes several permit changes related to a planned repowering of the plant.

The facility is owned by RC Cape May Holdings and is operated by North American Energy Services Corp.

The equipment that emits air contaminants from this facility include:

  • a 160-MW coal-fired utility boiler (Unit 2);
  • a 170-MW No. 6 fuel oil-fired utility boiler (Unit 3);
  • four 26 MMBTU/hr diesel electric generators; and
  • associated material handling and storage equipment, fuel storage equipment, and a diesel fire pump.

Controls include selective non-catalytic reduction for NOx control on boilers 2 and 3, carbon injection for mercury control on boiler 3, a scrubber for acid gas control on boiler 2, an electrostatic precipitator for particulate control on boiler 2, a cyclone for particulate control on boiler 3, selective catalytic reduction (NOx control) and oxidation catalysts (CO control) for the diesel engines, and particulate filters for the material handling equipment.

This renewed air permit would allow the following changes:

  • Addition of the requirements of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Electric Generating Units Burning Coal applicable to the facility’s utility boilers Unit 2 and Unit 3. Unit 3 will operate as a limited use oil-fired boiler, with a capacity factor limited to less than 8%.
  • Removal of coal-fired boiler Unit 1 from service.
  • Addition of a 447-MW combined cycle combustion turbine. Either a Siemens 8000 combustion turbine or a General Electric Frame 7HA1 combustion turbine and a 480 million BTU per hour duct burner is proposed. The turbine will burn natural gas as a primary fuel and ultra-low sulfur distillate fuel oil (ULSD) as backup fuel. This modification redefines the repowering project approved in April 2015. Unlike the previous project, the redefined project will result in a facility with emissions below the Prevention of Significant Deterioration major source thresholds. Upon completion of this repowering project, the facility would be renamed Cape May Energy Center (CMEC).
  • Addition of a 91.6 million BTU per hour auxiliary boiler burning natural gas (primary fuel) or ULSD (backup).
  • Add requirement to decommission utility boilers coal-fired Unit 2 and no. 6 fuel oil-fired Unit 3 (and associated cooling tower) when the combined cycle combustion turbine commences commercial operation.
  • Add requirement to decommission four General Electric diesel engines when the combined cycle combustion turbine commences commercial operation.
  • Addition of Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CASAPR) requirements.

Gas pipeline dispute has put a crimp in the repowering plan

In other recent news related to this project, the New Jersey Sierra Club and Environment New Jersey on Jan. 28 said they are suing the New Jersey Pinelands Commission and the state Board of Public Utilities over their approval of the South Jersey Gas pipeline that will run through the environmentally sensitive Pinelands region. Despite previous determination that the pipeline does not fit the needs of the Pinelands, the commission’s Executive Director unilaterally determined the pipeline was consistent with the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), when South Jersey Gas told the BPU it is purposed to serve areas outside the Pinelands for reliability, the environmental groups said. This decision circumvented a public hearing and further vote by the Pinelands Commission, which they believe is against the Pinelands Protection Act.

Not only will the South Jersey Gas pipeline destroy environmentally sensitive land and threaten water supplies, but it will keep a polluting power plant called BL England in operation, the groups said. The owner of this plant is shutting down coal-fired capacity there and wants to repower the plant with natural gas, which is a project that has been delayed due to delays for the gas pipeline project at issue here.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Dec. 16, 2015, approved a petition filed by South Jersey Gas (SJG) asking that zoning, site plan review and all other municipal land use ordinances and regulations shall not apply to this proposed natural gas pipeline. In doing so the board found that the pipeline project is reasonably necessary for the service, convenience or welfare of the public. Without the board’s approval, SJG would have needed to obtain local approvals from the Upper Township and Maurice River Township.

“This project is yet another case in point where the Board is implementing the policies contained the State’s 2011 Energy Master Plan and demonstrating progress towards the Energy Master Plan’s overarching goals of lowering the cost of energy for customers and promoting a diverse portfolio of clean in-state generation,” said board President Richard S. Mroz at the time. “This proposed pipeline will provide redundancy for approximately 142,000 SJG customers, while also enabling the conversion of the B.L. England power plant from running on coal and oil to running on cleaner natural gas.”

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in September 2015 approved an application by RC Cape May Holdings for a waiver of a PJM Interconnection policy related to its stalled repowering of the B.L. England plant. The approved waiver is of the must-offer requirement PJM’s Open Access Transmission Tariff.

The B.L. England plant has had two generating units using coal and one using oil. B.L. England is required to comply with several air quality standards for air pollutant emissions under the federal Clean Air Act and applicable state rules. As a result, the plant owner agreed with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to repower B.L. England to natural gas or shut down. As a result, B.L. England ceased using one of its coal generating units (Unit 1, 129 MW) in May 2014.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.